by Noah Adams
As a survivor of a harsh car accident, I feel like it is my responsibility to help promote and keep everyone safe while operating or riding in a motor vehicle. At the age of eight, I saw my life flash before my eyes. I was headed to my first basketball practice of the season and the highway was jammed packed, bumper to bumper. On the other side of the highway, an 18 wheeler didn’t break in time and ran into the back of a car. The impact from the truck caused the car to flip over the median and land on top of my fathers car. My fathers car was flattened and he was the only one able to get out while my brother and I were stuck. The ambulance arrived and was able to get us out safely. While I was in the back of the ambulance truck I heard someone say, “these kids were lucky they were wearing their seat belts.” One of the simplest ways to be safe while operating or riding in a motor vehicle is to wear your seat belt. However, it has become obvious that wearing a seat belt is not as simple for everyone as you would think. I have heard various reasons on why certain people choose not to wear a seat belt, they don’t want to wrinkle their clothes, they are in a rush to get somewhere, or they have just not gotten used to wearing it. But, most of the time it just comes down to the fact that they just don’t want to wear it. It has become clear that wearing a seatbelt just is not important to most people as it should be. How can you blame them when, for some, they have not been taught the values and importance of a seatbelt and how it can potentially save your life if need be?
Every year about 4.4 million people are seriously injured and require medical attention because they were in a car accident(1). People between the ages 18 and 34 are 10 percent less likely to wear their seat belt, which puts them at a higher risk of getting seriously injured if they were to be in an accident (2). In 2020, the national seat belt use rate was at 90.3 percent, a decrease of .4 percent from 2019 (2). When looking at these numbers it looks like we are doing great as a nation. But, there is still room for improvement because we have yet to reach 100 percent or at least become close. In 2019, 47 percent of 22,215 killed in car accidents were not wearing a seat belt (2). Also in 2019, 55 percent of people killed in night time accidents were not wearing a seat belt (2).
Click It or Ticket is a national program operated by NHTSA that takes action to boost seat belt use (2). GHSA’s State Highway Safety Office (SHSO) members provide funding for increased enforcement and work with law enforcement agencies to educate drivers and their passengers about the importance of seat belt use (3). Click It or Ticket is one of the most successful efforts to improve seat belt use, programs resulting in 2- to 14-percentage point increases in observed front seat belt use during daytime hours (3).
If you are choosing not to wear your seat belt you are part of the problem. It doesn’t look cool or make you cool when you’re not buckled up. Everytime you sit in a car you should put your seat belt on no matter if you are the driver or passenger of the vehicle. If you know someone that is choosing to not wear their seat belt, let them know that it is not cool, and the seat belt can potentially save their life. Nobody deserves to die or be seriously injured in a car accident. Seat belt educational resources are available for anyone in need. You can go to nhtsa.gov to find statistics on how seat belts save lives or programs that educate you on seat belt safety. It is up to us, everyone across the nation to help increase seat belt use rate. Through more education, seat belt safety can become something everyone nationwide could support. The reason my brother, father, and I were able to come out alive with only a few scratches was because of the seat belt. Wear your seat belt!
https://www.asirt.org/safe-travel/road-safety-facts/ (Road Safety Facts)
https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts (Seat Belts)
https://www.ghsa.org/issues/seat-belts (Seat Belts)